<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.comen-usFri, 24 Feb 2017 01:19:25 -0800Fri, 24 Feb 2017 01:19:25 -0800NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[$1M Settlement Reached for Death of Mexican Man Near Border]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 17:28:40 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Anastasio-Hernandez.jpg

A $1 million settlement has been reached in a lawsuit against U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), seven years after the death of a Mexican man near the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

Anastasio Hernandez-Rojas, 42, died in 2010 after he was caught coming into the U.S. illegally and was involved in an altercation with border officers.

According to the Justice Department, Hernandez-Rojas began fighting with agents when his handcuffs were removed and he struggled and kicked them. One officer used a stun gun on Hernandez-Rojas after which his breathing slowed and he became unresponsive.

He was taken to the hospital and died a few days later.

According to his autopsy, Hernandez-Rojas suffered a heart attack during the altercation. The Justice Department said heart disease, electric shocks from the stun gun and methamphetamine intoxication were contributing factors.

Hernandez-Rojas' death raised complaints of excessive force from the then-president of Mexico and others, and investigators with the Justice Department examined the case for evidence of a civil rights violation.

But in 2015, the Justice Department announced that it would not bring criminal charges against the CBP and closed the investigation.

A year later, the CBP's Use of Force Review Board (UFRB) began to review the investigation into the deadly incident.

On Thursday, a settlement was reached in the lawsuit alleging wrongful death, excessive force and failture to properly supervise and failure to intervene.

The $1 million settlement will be paid to the plaintiffs, who are Hernandez-Rojas' children and wife, after the petition is approved.

<![CDATA[Teen Faces Charges in Threat at Coronado HS]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 14:58:21 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Coronado-High-School-generic.jpg

A teenager will face criminal charges after a social media post targeted Coronado High School Thursday.

Some concerned students alerted staff to a threat made on social media, the Coronado Unified School District and the Coronado Police Department confirmed.

Soon after, the high school was placed on lockdown. Police sent an alert to the community advising that officers were on the CHS campus and looking into the threat.

Just before 11 a.m., Coronado Police sent out an alert that the campus had been deemed safe, though officers were staying on scene to investigate.

In a joint message, Superintendent Karl Mueller and Chief of Police Jon Froomin confirmed the source of the threat was detained off campus.

No details were given regarding the nature of the threat.

Police later said the 16-year old male student was taken into custody at his home in Coronado.

The unidentified teenager faces criminal charges and was booked into Juvenile Hall, police said.

Officials said schools will be reviewing their procedures in light of the lockdown to "ensure everything is done to maintain the safety and security of our schools."

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Suspect's Mugshot Released in North County Murder Case]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 14:10:37 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Antonia-Herrera-Castro-crop.jpg

Investigators have released the mugshot of the man accused of killing a young woman found dead last month on the side of a road in San Diego's North County.

Suspect Paul Castro, 27, a resident of Las Vegas, was taken into custody by homicide detectives with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. He’s a documented gang member, authorities said.

Castro was an acquaintance of Antonia Herrera, 23, according to San Diego County Sheriff's Department (SDSO) Lt. Kenn Nelson.

Nelson said they met through mutual friends in Las Vegas.

Herrera's body was found on Jan. 12 on Champagne Boulevard in unincorporated Escondido, near Interstate 15.

Her manner of death was ruled a homicide, but her autopsy was sealed.

Nelson said Wednesday that investigators believe Herrera was shot to death inside a friend’s car as she was traveling back to San Diego from Las Vegas on Jan. 12. Castro was in that car, too.

“We do have that vehicle in our possession, and we will be processing it, based on search warrants that we have obtained for that,” Nelson said.

The lieutenant said investigators have not yet determined a motive for the murder.

Castro is believed to be the only suspect in the killing. Other people were in the car, but Nelson said they are not suspected in the shooting of Herrera.

"We believe Mr. Castro is solely responsible for her death," Nelson added.

<![CDATA[BMW Allows Local Man To Negotiate Out Of Car Lease Early]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 17:47:08 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Charlie+Spicuzza_BMW+Lease_2.23.17.JPG

A Ramona man turned to NBC 7 Responds after a dealership wouldn’t let him out of a three-year lease his wife entered into before she died. 

“She was actually in the back seat, in a head-on collision, and go figure, she was the only one that didn’t survive,” Charlie Spicuzza said. “I’ll never forget that day.” 

It’s not easy for Charlie to talk about the day he lost his wife Cindy. It also hasn’t been easy to take care of the details since she passed away, including her favorite car. 

“There’s plenty of reminders of her all over the house,” Charlie said. 

One of those is Cindy’s car. She was eight months into a three-year lease on a BMW. After she died, Charlie drove it to BMW of El Cajon where they originally leased it. 

Charlie said the dealership told him he was still responsible for paying the lease. 

“You can bring us back the car but you need to give us $15,429 which just by coincidence was exactly the total sum of all the remaining payments I still had left to make,” he said. 

Charlie said all he wanted was a small break, he didn’t expect the dealership to forgive the entire debt. 

“And I told them, I said, look I understand. Sell it for whatever you can get for it, I’ll pay the difference, I know I’m not going to get out of this without taking some sort of financial hit,” he said. 

Charlie talked to BMW lease officials and said he got the same answer, he would have to sell the car himself. After nearly eight weeks of trying to work out a solution, Charlie turned to NBC 7 Responds for help. 

“I knew immediately that we had to do something for him,” Selena Hernandez, a Consumer Producer for NBC 7, said. 

She works in the NBC Responds call center in Dallas. After she took Charlie’s call, Selena said she reached out to corporate officials at BMW. 

“It will never replace the life that was lost but perhaps give him some comfort and some peace to some degree,” she said. 

It took less than a week for Charlie to get a call he said he didn’t expect. 

“Just bring that car back down to El Cajon BMW, they know you’re coming, you don’t owe us any more money,” Charlie said. 

BMW agreed to take back the car and cancel any future lease payments. 

In an email, BMW Corporate Communications Manager Dave Buchko told NBC 7 Responds, “BMW is committed to the highest level of customer service. The matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of all involved."

<![CDATA[San Diego Is Now a 'Coast Guard City']]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 12:29:27 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Coast-Guard-City-0223_4.jpg

San Diego is now a Coast Guard City - an honor bestowed to only 20 other cities.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer was all smiles as he accepted the presentation from U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Paul Zukunft.

The mayor in turn handed a key to the city to the admiral.

Faulconer said this designation has been a "long time coming" and reinforces how important the U.S. military is to our city. He also said it was the city's chance to thank the Coast Guard for many years of service.

San Diego earned the title after proving the city offered support to the Coast Guard including their welfare and recreational initiatives.

Moving forward, the mayor said he wants to continue strengthening the region's bond with San Diego-based Coast Guard crews.

The designation was done with the approval of the U.S. Congress. U.S. Rep. Scott Peters was on hand for the ceremony.

“The Coast Guard plays an integral role in defending the nation but also helping law enforcement locally with all sorts of issues around the bay and around the region,” Peters said.

San Diego is the third California city to receive the honor following Eureka (2000) and Alameda (2006).

<![CDATA[Beyonce Drops Out of 2017 Coachella]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 13:19:14 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/beyonce-performance.jpg

Sorry, Coachella festival-goers -- you’ll have to wait another year to see Beyonce.

On Thursday, Feb. 23, Queen Bey, who is pregnant with twins, released a statement via her label, Parkwood Entertainment, and Coachella organizers, Goldenvoice, cancelling her headlining slot at this year’s festival.

The megastar pulled out of the annual, multi-weekend Indio, California event (scheduled for April 14-16 and 21-23) “following the advice of her doctors to keep a less rigorous schedule in the coming months.”

“Beyonce has made the decision to forgo performing at the 2017 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival,” the statement continued. “However, Goldenvoice and Parkwood are pleased to confirm that she will be a headliner at the 2018 festival. Thank you for your understanding.”

A replacement artist has yet to be announced at this time. Other notable headliners for the 2017 installment of the massive music/arts festival include Radiohead, Kendrick Lamar, the xx, Future, New Order, Lorde, Bon Iver and Gucci Mane. Stay tuned to SoundDiego for more info as its made available.

According to Coachella’s official website, passes for this year’s festival went on sale on Jan. 4, 2017 and are currently sold out. For more details and info on Coachella, please check out our previous article here.

Photo Credit: Matt Sayles/Invision/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Motorcyclist Injured in Crash in Escondido]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 23:12:51 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/police+tape.PNG

A motorcylist was seriously injured in a crash with a vehicle in Escondido Thursday night, the Escondido Fire Department confirmed.

The crash occurred at approximately 9:17 p.m. on N Broadway and Leslie Lane.

The man was taken to Palomar Hospital with major injures, fire officials said.

No other information was available.

Check back for updates on this breaking news.

<![CDATA[Deportation Backlog: Half a Million Cases Pending]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 22:53:07 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/border+patrol.PNG

President Donald Trump is keeping his promise to crack down on illegal immigration.

But under the current immigration court system, it can take years to actually get deported.

The reason? A huge backlog.

Across the nation, there's more than 500,000 pending cases, yet less than 300 immigration judges to get through them. In San Diego, there's only about half a dozen immigration judges. The court system is understaffed and the facilities are often maxed out.

"The backlog is incredible, in some cities very easily four or five years," said Andrew Nietor, Chair of San Diego's Immigration Lawyers Association. "I've had clients flown from San Diego to Louisiana, just because they don't have the capacity right now in the San Diego detention facilities."

President Trump has promised to increase deportations and speed up the process, yet the current infrastructure can't manage a dramatic spike. More deportations will ultimately cost more money.

"There's definitely going to be a marked drastic increase in the number of detentions," Nietor said. "There will have to be an increase in immigration judges, Department of Homeland Security staff, attorneys and detention facilities. The tax payers are going to have to come up with billions of dollars."

But experts said finding immigration judges is easier said than done. The federal government is aware of the backlog and says it's in the process of hiring more judges and court staffing. But that's just one side of the issue. The other is U.S immigration laws.

"If you're not an authorized resident, and you're undocumented, then you have to go right?" said Everard Meade, Director of the Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego. "Well when you look at the U.S. immigration laws, it's actually really complicated. We've created all these exceptions to the rule over the years that are incredibly complicated."

Meade says that having more immigration judges would make it easier to remove people who don't have a valid immigration claim to stay in the country.

"The U.S spends about $19 billion a year on immigration enforcement," Meade said. "But we only spend about $360 million on the court system. Over the last 15 years, the enforcement budget has grown, the judicial system has not."

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA['Bang, Bang' Sound Heard During Lakeside Car Fire: Neighbor]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 22:17:42 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Lakeside-Burning-Car-0223_2.jpg

Neighbors said they heard what sounded like gunshots during a fatal car fire in Lakeside Wednesday night.

San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDSO) homicide detectives are investigating after a burning body was recovered from a car parked on Mast Boulevard.

On Thursday, NBC 7 obtained cell phone video of the fire--which left behind scorched earth on the side of the road .

“It sounded like bang-bang, like fire crackers or guns going off,”  said neighbor Megan Blum-Hopgood.

One neighbor said she was afraid to look outside her home after hearing the explosions.

"I was more worried about gunshots. Not sure what was going on, so I stayed away from the windows,” said Shannon Shepard.

Andrew Borcher recorded the car fire with his phone from the back patio of his home.

During the four and a half minute recording, four explosions can be heard coming from the Lexus sedan.

"Very, very shocked something like that would happen. Very heartbreaking someone was actually in the vehicle,” Shepard said.

One homeless man who lives under a pepper tree near the location of the incident, told NBC 7, he witnessed the whole thing and believes it was an act of self-harm.

"I heard a shot and explosion,” he said.

Andrew Borcher said he also believed the fire was intentional.

“Without intentionally setting the car on fire, you wouldn't have 15 or 20-foot flames for 20 minutes,” he told NBC 7.

SDSO is called the death suspicious until a cause of death is determined.

The fire is unsettling some neighbors.

"We bought this home because it was a very safe neighborhood. Now we know someone was killed. It's very very scary,” Blum-Hopgood said.

The Medical Examiner has not yet identifying the victim.

According to authorities, the victim did not own the car.

<![CDATA[Construction on Encinitas Home May Have Flooded Neighbor's Yard]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 21:29:02 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/encinitas-flooding94_damage.jpg

Construction work in an Encinitas neighborhood may have caused flooding and significant damage to a neighbor’s yard, fire officials said Thursday.

Muddy water filled the yard of the home on Normandy Road Thursday morning.

Solana Beach-Del Mar-Encinitas Firefighters were called to the home around 10:30 a.m. to help remove the excess water caused by a broken pipe.

Battalion Chief Robert Ford said a contractor was working on a home up the street.

There was a good 2 feet of water around the home and several inches of water inside, he said.

“We’re working with the homeowner to salvage what we can inside the house,” Ford said.

“The homeowner going to be not living in her house until it’s rendered safe.”

While Ford wasn’t sure what caused the flooding, a NBC 7 news crew saw a broken pipe on the site of the construction. When asked, Ford said he had not investigated the cause of the flooding.

Photo Credit: Mark Sackett, NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Arrest Made 30 Years After Teen Murdered in Valencia Park]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 18:35:35 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/dewan+emerson+cold+case+murder+0223.jpg

An arrest has been made nearly three decades after the murder of a teenager in Valencia Park.

One April evening in 1987, 15-year-old Dewan Emerson told his mother he was stepping outside to speak to someone – a man he said he knew - who had stopped by their home.

That was the last conversation the two ever had.

The following morning, someone stumbled upon what they thought was a manikin in a flood channel behind Naranja Street. San Diego Police arrived and discovered that it was the body of Emerson. Investigators confirmed that he had been sexually assaulted and strangled to death.

Emerson was a student at Lincoln High School at the time and was involved in the ROTC program. His neighbor and friend Denise Barnes remembers the day officers knocked on her door and told her and her mother what happened.

"He was just like the little brother I never had, you know?” Barnes said. “Sweet kid, I miss him.”

A lot has changed since 1987, including advancements in DNA evidence analysis. SDPD Cold Case Detectives and District Attorney Investigators recently revisited the case and new technology helped them create a suspect DNA profile for Emerson’s killer.

The profile led them to 56-year-old Russell Taylor, a man serving a 25-year sentence at San Quentin State Prison for a separate crime.

SDPD officers came knocking on Barnes’ door once again a couple of months ago, this time telling her and her mother that Taylor had been arrested. He was charged for the crime last week.

“That made me feel good,” Barnes said. “That boy deserved to live. He was the sweetest, he stayed in school, whatever was going on in his household he tried to stay away from it.”

Investigators still hold suspicion that there may have been a second victim that night in Valencia Park.

Neighbors reported to police that they saw another boy running along the 5100 block of nearby Groveland Street. They say the boy mentioned that he was being chased.

Witnesses described him as a “chubby” black boy, 17 to 18 years old, about 6 feet tall, weighing about 160 pounds and wearing blue sweats and a white t-shirt that was torn along the left side.

SDPD is asking for the public’s help in identifying the boy, and are urging anyone with any other information to come forward.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Tow Truck Driver Struck and Killed on Shoulder of SR-52]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 23:17:28 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/sr+52+fatal+accident+0223.jpg

A tow truck driver was killed after being hit by a car on the shoulder of eastbound State Route 52 Thursday evening, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) confirmed.

CHP says a Roadone Towing driver got out of his truck to tow a disabled garbage truck when he was hit by another driver. The collision occurred at approximately 5:10 p.m. near Mast Boulevard.

Officers say the driver continued on eastbound SR-52 for nearly a mile until he was stopped by an off-duty officer.

"There was significant damage to the front end of the car and also there were witnesses to the incident," said CHP Sgt. Sofia Mosqueda.

The tow truck driver was not in traffic lanes when he was hit, according to CHP.

Alcohol is believed to be a factor in the collision, according to the CHP.

"There is danger for tow truck drivers and I think they're aware of it," Mosqueda said. "In these situations, it doesn't matter how much care you can take to be safe, you have impaired drivers on the roadway on any given day."

A Sig Alert was issued at 5:30 p.m. for the eastbound SR-52 at Summit.

The driver was booked into jail, CHP officials said.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Sister of Missing Man Makes Plea for Help]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 20:59:23 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Jake+Roberson.jpg

In Claremont, a sister is desperate to find her brother, who went missing nearly six weeks ago.

Jake Roberson, 30, is considered bipolar and doesn't have access to his medication, his family said.

Ruth Roberson describes her brother as an old spirit, kind, and a loving uncle to her 4-month-old daughter.

Roberson's car sits in her driveway. It was found in Los Angeles County near Pyramid Lake on the Interstate-5.

A note on the car said he was out of gas.

Just 10 days ago, another piece of evidence was discovered--a maintenance worker from Pyramid Lake found his jeans and car keys, but still no sign of Roberson.

"It's actually been kind of a struggle because as family members, we know that there are certain circumstances--that we think a search party should have been sent out earlier," Ruth said. "But dealing with just two jurisdictions, dealing with circumstances around his case, it's neccessarily considered serious."

A search operation is schedule for Friday morning in Los Angeles County. Due to weather, dive teams will not be able to search the lake.

<![CDATA[Super-Soaking Storms Cut Severe Drought to 4 Percent]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 08:27:47 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/222*120/02-23-2017-drought.jpg

More than 80 percent of California is no longer in drought after a series of winter storms, including last week's hourslong soaker in Southern California.

About 17 percent of the state remains in drought, according to this week's U.S. Drought Monitor report, the first since last Friday's powerful storm. That's a dramatic turnaround from one year ago when 94 percent of the state was in drought during an historic five-year dry spell.

This week's report even showed improvement for parts of Southern California that have been struggling to escape severe drought.

"Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, which have been the epicenter of drought in California in recent weeks, received much-needed rainfall," according to the Drought Monitor report.

More than 8 inches of rain was reported at two stations near Santa Barbara, one of several Southern California communities that were hammered Friday by one of the state's strongest storms in years. This week's report shows only 4 percent of the state in severe drought, affecting areas in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, and extreme southeastern California.

Last week, 7 percent of California was in severe drought. 

At this time last year, 82 percent of California was in severe drought. The Monitor features four drought categories -- moderate, severe, extreme and exceptional. No part of the state is in extreme drought for the first time since August 2013. 

"Generally a one-category improvement to drought conditions was made from central California to the Los Angeles basin," according to the Monitor report.

Santa Barbara County's Cachuma Lake serves as a bellwether for just how dramatic the turnaround has been over the last year. The reservoir rose 24 feet in just one day, bringing the lake to 42 percent of capacity.

Early this month, Cachuma Lake, which has not reached 50 percent capacity since 2014, was at 15 percent of capacity.

The storms, produced by atmospheric rivers that pull streams of moisture up from the tropics, have boosted the state's critical Sierra snowpack and reservoir levels. The Sierra Nevada snowpack is 186 of average, a good sign for spring when that snow melts and runs into the state's water reservoirs ahead of the dry summer months.

In a dramatic turnaround for California from last winter, when reservoir levels were significantly lower and the site of the Sierra snowpack survey was a dry patch of grass, the storms have produced flooding in Nothern California. Some residents returned home Wednesday in San Jose after being evacuated when a bloated creek carrying engine fuel and sewage water flooded thousands of homes.

With water levels from Coyote Creek receding late Wednesday, officials said some of the 14,000 evacuated residents would be allowed to return home, although an evacuation order remained for parts of the city. Authorities warned residents to be careful about hygiene and handling food that may have come into contact with flood water.

Flood warnings were in place until Saturday because waterways were overtaxed, and another storm was forecast Sunday.

Authorities also reopened two lanes of U.S. 101 south of San Francisco after it was closed because of flooding. The California Highway Patrol closed all lanes in both directions at 4:40 a.m. Wednesday when water spilled into a low point on the freeway.

There is no estimate when the key commuter artery will fully reopen.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: USGS
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<![CDATA[Chancellor: CSU Police Will Not Enforce Immigration Law]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 10:33:27 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Aztec-Student-Union-Unveile.jpg

Police on campuses in the California State University system will not help federal officials enforce immigration law, the chancellor reminded students in a memo Wednesday.

Chancellor Timothy White emailed students, staff and alumni of the CSU system including those at San Diego State University to say the system’s policy regarding immigration enforcement has not changed regardless of a recent directive from Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.

Millions of people living in the United States illegally could be targeted for deportation — including people simply arrested for traffic violations — under a sweeping rewrite of immigration enforcement policies the Trump administration announced Tuesday.

“Our university police departments will not honor immigration hold requests,” White said. “[Campus police] will not contact, detain, question or arrest individuals solely on the basis of being - or suspected of being – a person who lacks documentation."

While calling the new federal directive “complex” and informing CSU staff and students that he is reviewing the potential impact, White also said the university system will not partner with law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration law.

“We do advise any member of our CSU community – students, faculty and staff – who is approached while on campus by federal, state or local officials asking for information or documentation regarding immigration status, to immediately contact the University Police Department,” his memo states.

Campus police will then serve as a liaison, White said.

White also assured students under the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that the new DHS direction does not affect them.

Read the entire email here.

San Diego State University's Vice President for Student Affairs Eric Rivera also issued a statement offering information for undocumented immigrants who may have concerns.

A student’s immigration status is considered part of the educational records and is protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), he writes said.

"All members of the campus community should respect the privacy and sensitivity of these matters," Rivera said.

He offered services of SDSU's Office of Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP) as well as Counseling and Psychological Services to those concerned about themselves or their families.

Read Rivera's entire email here.

According to Homeland Security Department memos signed by Kelly, any immigrant who is in the country illegally and is charged or convicted of any offense, or even suspected of a crime, will now be an enforcement priority. That could include people arrested for shoplifting or minor offenses — or simply having crossed the border illegally.

Under the Obama administration guidance, immigrants whose only violation was being in the country illegally were generally left alone. Those immigrants fall into two categories: those who crossed the border without permission and those who overstayed their visas.

Crossing the border illegally is a criminal offense, and the new memos make clear that those who have done so are included in the broad list of enforcement priorities.

Overstaying a visa is a civil, not criminal, offense. Those who do so are not specifically included in the priority list but, under the memos, they are still more likely to face deportation than they had been before.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 News]]>
<![CDATA[Innovators Lab is Helping Kids Learn Science Using Art]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 16:16:46 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Innovators+Lab+san+diego+2.jpg

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Innovators Lab Helps Kids Learn Science Through Art]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 16:14:17 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Innovators+Lab+san+diego+1.jpg

Kids can now learn about science and math by making cool projects, like drones and LED holiday cards, at a new Innovators Lab.

The permanent exhibit recently opened at the New Children's Museum in downtown San Diego. NBC 7 is a proud part of making the lab possible, by awarding the musuem a $25,000 grant through the 21st Century Grant program.

The Innovators Lab is a collaborative makerspace experiment. The museum works with local artists and experts from various fields to create open ended design challenges to nurture creativity, problem solving, skill building, and learning.

"When you demystify science for them and you turn it into an art and creative and play environment, all of a suddent things that seems impossible beccome possible for them," said Judy Forrester, the museum's Chief Executive Officer.

"What sets this apart from other makerspaces is the collaboration with external professionals," said Tomoko Kuta, director of education and exhibitions. 

The current Spinning Tops Workshop teaches kids about balance and gravity. Kids don safety masks then use a lathe to create their own tops from wax. 

"I think with Innovators lLab we're able to empower kids to think about using real tools and it builds confidence and creativity," said Lani Bautisa Cabanilla, the manager of Visitor Programs.

The workshops will change four times a year. Up next: workshops in collaboration with an architect and an engineer. 

During the lab's first project, children created their own drones to explore the concept of buoyancy.

The second project taught children about electricity and currency by building LED lit holiday cards.

"When you think about workforce development, and you think about, what are those 21st century skills our students are going to need to be in the workforce, things like an Innovators Lab really give kids a leg up for that," Forrester told NBC7.

 The lab is designed for kids who are in the 7 to 13-year-old age range.

"It's a really good way to work with our families as they age up with our museum," said Kuta.

The lab is included with the museum admission.  The museum says 30 percent of children visit at no cost, thanks to fundraising that helps reach community centers, military families and foster children.

"For us, it's really enriching because we get to each out to the broad community and bring resources here and then just share it with the families who come," Kuta said.

For more information about the new Innovators Lab, click here.

To learn more about NBC 7's 21st Century Grant program, click here.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[San Diego Cop Killer Granted Parole]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 23:27:44 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/archie+buggs+and+jesus+cecena.jpg

A state parole board has granted parole to a prison inmate convicted of murdering a San Diego police officer.

The shooting happened nearly four decades ago.

Jesus Cecena was 17 when he gunned down 30-year-old patrol officer Archie Buggs during a traffic stop in the Skyline area in November, 1978.

Since then he's been recommended for parole from Valley State prison twice -- but Gov. Jerry Brown later overturned those decisions.

On Thursday, he was again granted parole suitability and the decision will now stand up to Gov. Brown for review. If approved, Cecena will be given parole.

NBC 7 spoke to Jesse Navarro, the former partner of Officer Buggs.

"I am a believer of somebody have a second opportunity. Somebody who makes a mistake, I do believe in that, and I've supported that," Navarro said. "But when somebody plans and premeditates and executes an officer, a good officer, a good person. That person, whether it's a police officer or whether it’s another innocent person, they do not belong in the streets committing crimes.”

Navarro said he talked to Buggs' family Thursday and they are heartbroken over the decision.

San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman also released the following statement: 

"We are incredibly disappointed by the poor decision of the parole board to free Cop Killer Jesus Cecena. He is a threat to public safety and deserves to spend the rest of his life behind bars. We will petition Governor Brown to reverse this decision and send the right message to those who commit such despicable crimes."

“We're hoping this message gets to Governor Brown and once he will understand our plea and not release a cop killer,” Navarro said.

Buggs was wounded in a hail of pistol bullets, then killed with a shot to the temple while he lay on the ground.

His partner, Jesse Navarro, is now a top executive in the San Diego District Attorney's Office.

Prosecutors are at the maximum security lockup to make their case for keeping Cecena under a life sentence.

He was turned down after parole hearings 13 times until 2014 and '15.

The San Diego Police Department and San Diego Police Officers Assn. strongly objected to Cecena's release, prompting the governor to reverse those recent parole decisions.

Prison administrators have cited Cecena for 10 conduct violations over the years.

Deputy District Attorney Richard Sachs told NBC 7 that parole officials who approved Cecena’s release insisted on evidence that Buggs was, in effect, "executed" at close range.

The DA's office has since submitted blood spatter material from beneath the patrol car Buggs was lying next to.

Buggs was the first of nine San Diego police officers to be killed in the line of duty over a seven-year period – the most of any department in the nation.

<![CDATA[Startup's ‘Hidden Money’ Scavenger Hunt Coming to San Diego]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 15:55:31 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/120916+cash+money+generic.jpg

A local startup is using its augmented reality app to invite users to a digital scavenger hunt with very real prizes – including money virtually “hidden” around downtown San Diego.

On March 4, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the “Hidden Cash San Diego” scavenger hunt will take place around points of interest across downtown. The event is the brainchild of Dmitry Shapiro, founder of the San Diego startup, GoMeta, Inc., and creator of the augmented reality app, Metaverse.

The app, much like Pokemon Go, is built to allow users to interact with its augmented reality universe. Users can create games and other “experiences,” drop them onto a map of the real world and, using their smartphone as a guide, physically walk up to those experiences and interact with them.

Since the company was founded in September 2016, it has hosted a few hype-inducing stunts around Southern California, including scavenger hunts in San Diego and Los Angeles in late October 2016.

The March 4 hunt, Shapiro said, is another one of those big events, meant to get people to play his company’s app while exploring San Diego for a chance to win money and freebies from local businesses. He said, so far, about 1,500 people have RSVP’d for the event.

“Participants will go on a quest, as we call it, via the app,” explained Shapiro. “They get a map and walk to get closer to clues, and the augmented reality interacts with them. They will encounter 10 to 15 experiences and the last one [will lead to] a prize.”

Shapiro said one of these “experiences” could entail a user coming across some sort of character as they point their smartphone at a spot along the scavenger hunt. That character, via a speech bubble, may ask the user a trivia question. The answer may unlock another clue, leading the user to another experience along the scavenger hunt, or to a prize, such as cash.

The cash – which could be between $20 and $1,000 – is not physically hidden anywhere, but will appear in the game, on the player’s smartphone screen. Shapiro said the winner will be paid digitally, via tools like Paypal or Venmo.

Unlike the viral “Hidden Cash” craze of 2014, Shapiro and his colleague, Jonathan Miller, said this scavenger hunt is all virtual, meaning there is no physical digging for prizes.

“Don’t bring your shovels,” said Shapiro. “There’s nothing to dig; you have to find the cash [via augmented reality].”

For the upcoming scavenger hunt, Miller said Metaverse has also partnered with San Diego businesses to offer other prizes along the way, including freebies at local restaurants such as a side of bacon at The Omelette Factory or a free taco at Cilantro’s Taco Shop.

Other giveaways up for grabs in the Metaverse include: free yoga classes at Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga or Full Circle Yoga, an introductory to cooking class at San Diego Culinary Institute, or a free small coffee at Lush Coffee & Tea.

Leading up to the big scavenger hunt, Miller and Shapiro said locals have already started winning cash across San Diego in places like UC San Diego, Westfield UTC, Little Italy and Lake Murray in La Mesa. The company’s Twitter account, @HiddenMoneySD, has been posting happy selfies of winners.

“We see lots of smiles,” said Shapiro. “People have a lot of fun playing and winning.”

Miller said these giveaways will be ongoing, with bigger scavenger hunts happening once in a while as “fun experiments.”

To participate in the March 4 event, iPhone or Android users must download the Metaverse app and create an account. From there, they will be able to navigate a map on their smartphone and then get out and walk around San Diego in search of clues.

GoMeta, Inc., was founded in September 2016. On Halloween, the company held its “Augmented Halloween” event in Los Angeles and San Diego, again giving away cash.

In November 2016, the startup landed $2 million in seed money from several big names including former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, former Myspace CEO Michael Jones, Greylock Partners and Moonshot Capital.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Heritage Park Gets New Coral Tree]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 11:38:00 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/heritage-park-022317.jpg

A 20,000 pound coral tree was placed in its new home Thursday at Heritage Park in Old Town on Thursday.

Arborists had been looking for a replacement after the old coral tree died of natural causes.

The new tree was planted around 9 a.m. but it’s not exactly “new.”

The tree is already 30 years old and though slightly smaller than the previous tree will grow just as big over the next five years.

The cost is an estimated $23,000.


<![CDATA[ACLU Helps Mother Sue SDPD Over DNA Collection of Minor]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 09:52:04 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ACLU-DNA-Swabs-Minors.jpg

The American Civil Liberties Union is helping a mother sue the San Diego Police Department after her son's DNA was collected without her consent.

California law states if law enforcement officers want to obtain DNA from minors and enter the information into a state database, they have to obtain parental consent.

However, SDPD believes that because the DNA evidence is being entered into a local database, the state law doesn’t apply.

Attorneys with the ACLU don’t agree. They’ve filed a lawsuit saying SDPD officers are illegally collecting DNA from minors and they want the practice stopped.

The ACLU said DNA records are kept by SDPD in a database with no oversight. The lawsuit is requesting the records of minors be destroyed from the police database.

The minor involved in the lawsuit was walking through a park and wearing attire with some blue coloring, residents told NBC 7.

When San Diego police stopped the minor, they were investigating a recent gang homicide. Four people were later arrested and charged in connection with the killing.

The minor wasn’t a suspect and was not charged in the case, according to his attorney Bardis Vakili.

The teenager had an unloaded gun in his backpack when he was stopped. However, the gun charge was dismissed by a judge because it was ruled the minor should not have been stopped and searched in the first place, Vakili said.

“That case was tried in the juvenile court and the case was thrown out because of the unlawful search,” the attorney said.

Lincoln Park residents are tired of their children being targeted by law enforcement officers.

“He was walking peacefully through the park with his friends. The police found a gun. That’s all the evidence that is out there,” he added.

The minor had no gang affiliation and no criminal history at the time he was stopped, according to his attorney.

<![CDATA[ICE Detainee with Tumor Removed from Texas Hospital: Lawyer]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 18:08:05 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/041211+ICE+agent+generic.jpg

An undocumented woman in need of surgery to remove a brain tumor is being held at a North Texas Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center, Attorney Chris Hamilton said.

Sara Beltran Hernandez has been held at the Prairieland Detention Center in Alvarado since November 2015. 

She collapsed at the detention center this month after complaining of headaches, nosebleeds and memory loss, according to Hamilton. He went on to say she was then transported to Texas Health Huguley Hospital in Burleson, where she was diagnosed with a brain tumor that requires surgery.

Hamilton claims his client was denied access to her other attorney and to vital medical attention while in ICE custody. 

Paralegal Melissa Zuniga says Beltran Hernandez has waited 13 days to have surgery and the lawyers in her asylum case are asking for a humane release to receive that care, The Associated Press reported.

According to AP, Zuniga says the woman's condition is worsening with nosebleeds, loss of memory and other symptoms increasing.

The 26-year-old fled her native El Salvador because of the violence there, Hamilton said. She came to the United States illegally but immediately sought asylum and surrendered to authorities.

Hamilton believes Beltran Hernandez was detained for not having proper documentation when she tried to go to New York City to be with family. Family members have also reportedly been trying to petition for her asylum.

A spokesperson for ICE said Beltran Hernandez was discharged from the hospital on Wednesday and was returned to the detention center.

In a statement to NBC Dallas-Fort Worth the agency said:

"ICE takes very seriously the health, safety and welfare of those in our care ... During [Beltran Hernandez's] stay at the hospital, ICE ensured that she was able to speak to her family and to her attorney by phone. Like all detainees in our care, Ms. Beltran will continue to have access to 24-hour emergency medical care and to any required specialized treatment at an outside facility."

Hamilton claims Beltran Hernandez was forcibly removed from the hospital and that she was bound somehow.

"She's in a lot of pain," Hamilton told NBCDFW.

He also said a brain surgeon offered Wednesday night to help care for the woman.

Check back and refresh this page for the latest update. As this story is developing, elements may change.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[House Fire Reported in National City]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 14:51:19 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/firefighter-generic-san-die.jpg

Firefighters have been called Thursday to a house fire in National City.

Smoke and flames were coming from the side of the single-story home on Roosevelt Avenue just after 2 p.m.

In just minutes, firefighters from National City and Chula Vista had the fire knocked down.

No one was injured.

No other information was available.

Check back for updates on this breaking news.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Sessions: US to Continue Use of Privately Run Prisons ]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 17:58:07 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_17010580743939-session.jpg

Attorney General Jeff Sessions signaled Thursday his strong support for the federal government's continued use of private prisons, reversing an Obama administration directive to phase out their use. Stock prices of major private prison companies rose at the news.

Sessions issued a memo replacing one issued last August by Sally Yates, the deputy attorney general at the time.

That memo, which followed a harshly critical government audit of privately run prisons, directed the federal Bureau of Prisons to begin reducing and ultimately end its reliance on contract facilities. Yates, in her announcement, said private facilities have more safety and security problems than government-run ones and were less necessary given declines in the overall federal prison population.

But Sessions, in his memo, said Yates' directive went against longstanding Justice Department policy and practice and "impaired the Bureau's ability to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system." He said he was directing the BOP to "return to its previous approach."

The federal prison population — now just under 190,000 — has been dropping due in part to changes in federal sentencing policies over the last few years. Private prisons now hold about 21,000 inmates in 12 facilities, a fraction of the total BOP population, the Justice Department said Thursday.

Yet the federal prison population may increase again given Sessions' commitment to aggressive enforcement of drug and immigration laws, and his focus on combating violent crime.

The latest memo — issued just two weeks after Sessions was sworn in as attorney general — could be part of a more expansive rollback of criminal justice policies enacted by the Obama administration Justice Department, including directives against seeking mandatory minimum punishments for nonviolent drug offenders.

The private prison industry has been a major contributor to Republican political campaigns, particularly in recent years.

As a candidate, President Donald Trump said he supported the use of private prisons, and the shares of the major companies — including Geo Group and CoreCivic Co., formerly Corrections Corporation of America — jumped after the election amid anticipation that the incoming administration would again turn to them.

"I do think we can do a lot of privatizations and private prisons. It seems to work a lot better," Trump told MSNBC in March.

The federal government started to rely on private prisons in the late 1990s because of overcrowding. Many of the federal prison inmates in private facilities are foreign nationals who are being held on immigration offenses. The Yates policy did not extend to prisons used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which hold tens of thousands of immigrants awaiting deportation.

Immigration and human rights advocates have long complained about conditions in privately run prisons. An inspector general audit from last August said problems at private prisons in recent years included property damage, injuries and the death of a corrections officer.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Peeps-Flavored Oreo Cookies Are Here]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 13:37:19 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/oreo-peeps.jpg

Move over peanut butter and jelly, a new flavor fusion is sweetening up store shelves.

Oreo and Peeps have joined forces for a limited edition Peeps Oreo sandwich cookie.

The Oreo features two golden cookies with a marshmallow Peeps-flavored filling.

The new sweet tweet will be sold at Wal-Mart's nation-wide starting Feb. 22.

Photo Credit: Mitchell Communications Group]]>
<![CDATA[Oscar Viewing Parties in San Diego]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 12:59:32 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Academy-Award-Shutterstock.jpg

Roll out that red carpet, movie buffs. The 89th annual Academy Awards air on TV Sunday and, if you can’t be in Tinseltown, you can at least watch the Oscars at some viewing spots around San Diego.

3:30 p.m. and 4 p.m., Liberty Station and La Jolla
Luxury movie theater, THE LOT, with locations in both La Jolla and Liberty Station, will air the big Hollywood awards show at both locations. The Oscars start at 4 p.m. on Feb. 26. THE LOT at Liberty Station will offer two screenings of the big show: one seating at 3:30 p.m. and the other at 3:35 p.m. THE LOT in La Jolla will offer three screenings, all at 4 p.m. Tickets are $30 per person and include a seat in one of THE LOT’s comfy, cushy recliners. You can also order food and beverages – including beer and wine for the 21+ crowd – served right at your seat inside the theater.

Pacifica Del Mar
4 p.m., Del Mar
Pacifica Del Mar’s Ocean Bar will host an Oscars viewing party, which begins with red carpet arrivals at 4 p.m. Patrons can watch their favorite actors win big while sipping on Happy Hour specials all night. The bar will also host a game in which you can vote for your Oscars predictions for a chance to win a gift card to the restaurant. Here’s a little insight on how to expertly cast your ballots. http://www.nbcsandiego.com/entertainment/entertainment-news/Oscar-Predictions-What-Will-win-what-should-win--414620433.html

San Diego International Film Festival Presents the Oscars
4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., La Jolla
Somewhere in La Jolla, at a private estate, the San Diego International Film Festival will host a swanky Academy Awards viewing party that includes a red carpet, an Oscars prediction game with a chance to win a prize, and tasty dishes created by local top chefs, desserts, cocktails and a champagne toast. Wear a gown or tux and strut your stuff on the red carpet before the fun begins. Tickets to this shindig are $125 per person, with proceeds benefitting the San Diego International Film Festival.

Bella Vista Social Club and Caffé Present Oscar Night 2017
4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Bella Vista Social Club & Caffé
Bella Vista Social Club & Caffé on Torrey Pines Scenic Drive will present Oscar Night 2017 Sunday with a screening of the awards show that will also serve as an inaugural benefit for The Academy, a group of art enthusiasts whose mission is to support young artists on their journeys to stardom. The event will help raise scholarship funds for talented youth who need a little help to be able to attend local performing arts programs including: City Heights Music School; International Academy of Jazz; JCompany Youth Theater; Lamb’s Players Theater; Jazz Camp UCSD; La Jolla Playhouse Tech Theatre Class. The evening includes food, an open bar, live entertainment, a DJ, dancing, a silent auction and, of course, a red carpet. Tickets are $75 per person. Wear your cocktail attire!

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[2 San Diego County Beaches Named Among Top 25 in U.S.]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 12:19:19 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/La-Jolla-Shores-TripAdvisor.jpg

Two beaches in San Diego County were named among the top 25 beaches in America, according to a recent ranking by Trip Advisor’s Traveler’s Choice.

La Jolla Shores Park ranked at No. 21 and Carlsbad State Beach came in at No. 24.

Of La Jolla Shores, the ranking highlighted a review that said: “My favorite beach in San Diego – giant waves for boogey boarding.”

Of Carlsbad Beach, the review simply said: “Go to Carlsbad!”

Unsurprisingly, the list of the most pristine and picturesque beaches was dominated by destinations in Florida and Hawaii.

The No. 1 beach in the U.S. was Siesta Beach in Siesta Key, Florida, and No. 2 was Ka'anapali Beach on the Hawaiian island of Maui.

The only other California beach to make the cut was Santa Monica Beach, which ranked 20th.

Noticeably absent was the iconic Coronado Beach, which has made the list in years’ past.

Photo Credit: TripAdvisor]]>
<![CDATA[Body Found Inside Burning Car in Lakeside]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 12:33:57 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Lakeside-Burning-Car-0223_2.jpg

San Diego County Sheriff’s Department homicide detectives are investigating the discovery of a body in a burned car.

A Lexus was found burning in a cul-de-sac in Lakeside Wednesday.

Lakeside Firefighters arrived to Mast Boulevard just before midnight and discovered a body inside the vehicle.

Investigators have not released gender information on the person who died.

They are considering this suspicious until a cause of death is determined.

The San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office will conduct an autopsy.

No other information was available.

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<![CDATA[Doctor Called 'Monster' Pleads Not Guilty to Sex Abuse]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 11:42:24 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/Gymnastic-doc-sexual-abuse.jpg

Toting a Bible, disgraced gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar appeared in court Thursday to plead not guilty to molesting young girls — the latest in a string of charges that led Michigan's top prosecutor to call him "a monster," NBC News reported. 

A judge ordered Nassar held without bond — a moot point since he is already locked up without bail on federal child pornography charges and a state charge that he repeatedly molested a family friend starting when she was 6 years old.

Wearing orange jail garb with his left hand shackled to his waist, Nassar gave only brief answers to the judge's questions at the first of two back-to-back arraignments in two counties on 22 counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree.

[[238427591, C]]

Photo Credit: David Eggert/AP Photo]]>
<![CDATA[USA Bobsledders Train in Chula Vista]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 17:31:10 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/02-22-17+US+Woman%27s+Bobsled+team+in+Chula+Visa.JPG

After two months on the road, in snowy cold places around the world, the USA Women’s Bobsled team returned home to the United States this week for some much needed “R & R”.

They drew a pretty good location: San Diego. 

Seven of the 8 women on the team checked into the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center (formerly known as Olympic Training Center) to spend the week working on speed, agility, and strength all the while appreciating the sunshine and warm weather.

San Diegans might complain about the rainy winter, but so far these bobsledders feel like it’s a slice of heaven.

"I love California, this is like the best place on earth," said bobsledder Brittany Reinbolt.

The team arrived in Chula Vista Monday night after being out of the country since Dec. 30.

They will spend just under a week at the center, training with two-time Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor, who grew up in Oceanside.

Bobsledders spend an enormous amount of time working on their explosiveness and very little time on the actual bobsled track.

“If you think of basketball players they can go on the court and take a bunch of shots and practice their skills, for bobsled we're actually only on the ice for two minutes a day," said Jamie Greubel Poser.

Greubel Poser drove her sled to a bronze medal at the World Championships in Germany last week, while Meyers Taylor continued her dominance winning gold.

But along with lifting weights and doing sprints, the women said they are excited to soak up as much vitamin D as possible before heading off to Korea.

“It’s a nice little vacation before we head to South Korea," said bobsledder Kehri Jones. "Cuz we’re not bobsledding. It’s not cold outside, it’s not snowing. We don’t have to run on ice. It’s just—it’s a perfect getaway.”

Being in Southern California also meant spending some time on the beach, of course.

They even took a bit of their sport along with them, building a bobsled out of sand during a trip to Mission Beach.

“Yes, we’re still doing our training, yes we’re still intense, but we get a lot of vitamin D, which we’re solely lacking all year,” said Meyers Taylor.

Team USA is considered the hardest team to make in the world and will send three different teams of two to the 2018 Winter Olympics next February in Pyeongchang South Korea.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA['Stop Playing Nice': San Diego Democrats Demand Action]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 06:35:50 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Democrat-Town-Hall-0223_2.jpg

San Diego Democrats are clamoring for answers from local representatives about what they can do to preserve their voice on Capitol Hill.

Congressmembers Susan Davis (D-53rd Dist.) and Scott Peters (D-52nd Dist.) held a workshop Wednesday night to address constituents questions at Liberty Station.

Approximately 700 people attended the Town Hall at Corky McMillin Companies Event Center to have their voices heard.

Local democrats said they feared their voices are falling on deaf ears in Washington.

"I want my elected officials to feel enraged and I want to see it in your actions,” attendee Madeleine Falco said.

Peters and Davis invited constituents to a workshop with the objective of politically empowering them.

“My style is not to yell. That doesn't mean I am any less passionate about fixing this country. I dedicated my life to it,” Congressman Peters said.

The town hall, dubbed "Don't Agonize, Galvanize", offered voters a tutorial on sharing their thoughts on social media, participating in demonstrations and other grassroots opportunities to influence Washington leadership.

Top of mind issues at the town hall was immigration and the Affordable Care Act.

"Healthcare is a fundamental human right,” one participant proclaimed.

"What we can do to is give opportunities to people to get jobs that pay well to get an education so they can compete in this economy. Give everybody the same shot that I got no matter race, color, or creed," Congressman Peters said.

With Congress in recess and San Diego representatives back in their respective districts for the first time since President Donald Trump's inauguration, it has proved to be a politically charged week.

Not all San Diego representatives are holding town Hall meetings, but this was Congressman Peters' second.

<![CDATA[Missing Boater Found at San Diego Hospital]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 07:50:43 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Garrett-Ferguson-Search.jpg

U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) crews in San Diego ended the search for a missing boater after he was found at a local hospital when a nurse recognized him from news reports as one of the hospital's patients.

Officials with the USCG 11th District PA Detachment San Diego said lifeguards discovered a 6-foot dingy about one mile west of Mission Bay on Tuesday at 11:50 a.m. The boat appeared to have been abandoned. Inside, officials found identification belonging to Garrett Ferguson, 36, a former U.S. Army service member, who lives in Huntington Beach, California.

Ferguson, however, was nowhere to be found.

Lifeguards called officials at Coast Guard Sector San Diego's Joint Harbor Operations Center (JHOC) to report the empty boat. On Wednesday, USCG officials announced a search has been launched for Ferguson.

Multiple crews scoured the waters including USCG rescue helicopters, the Navy’s Search and Rescue Helicopter, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter and San Diego Lifeguards.

The USCG said the search spanned from Torrey Pines to the Maritime Border Line.

A photo of Ferguson in military uniform was released by the Coast Guard Wednesday, as well as a photo of his abandoned dingy. The photo of the boat shows what appears to be other personal belongings left on board, including swimming fins, a bag and other gear.

A nurse at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego saw the news reports about the search for Ferguson and recognized him. After his identity was confirmed, USCG ended its search efforts.

At this point, it is unknown why Ferguson was in the hospital or why he abandoned his boat. No further details were released.

Photo Credit: U.S. Coast Guard]]>
<![CDATA[White Nationalist Richard Spencer Kicked Out of CPAC]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 11:13:17 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/richardspencerfeuerherdII.jpg

Richard Spencer, the white nationalist who popularized the term "alt-right," was kicked out of the Conservative Political Action Conference Thursday after holding an impromptu press conference in a hallway where the gathering is being held. 

"He is not welcome here," a spokesman for CPAC told NBC News.

Spencer said he was initially given credentials to attend the conference, but they were taken from him after he spoke to reporters in the hallway of the Maryland convention center. 

Spencer has espoused racist and anti-Semitic views, and reiterated those thoughts in a brief interview with NBC as he was leaving CPAC.

He told NBC race plays a major role in identity and that he believes whites are becoming a persecuted minority in the United States. 

Spencer also said he thinks CPAC attendees and younger conservatives would rather hear what he has to say, than listen to establishment Republicans. 

Photo Credit: Getty]]>